Recently we announced Tesseract were touring with Intronaut and Cloudkicker (dates here), the interesting part of that statement being the last band mentioned. Cloudkicker has been around for a few years now but has always been a one-man project of multi-instrumentalist Ben Sharp and nothing else. Hell, there's never even been rumblings of Cloudkicker going live because how could there be? Sharp works full-time as whatever he does and there's no band to back him… so it goes.
How Sharp has taken to his Tumblr to explain the whole live situation for this tour and how it came to be that Intronaut is his backing band:
"What a crazy week, in both my work life and music life. It’s nice to have a day to hang out with the dog and the wife and have an excuse to be lazy and wear sweatpants because it’s 6 degrees (or -14 C for those outside the US).
I have been in contact with Intronaut since right after Beacons came out. They played a show in Columbus in late 2010 and after [being blown away by] the set I hunted down their bassist, Joe, and offered him a Trader-Joe’s-bag full of CDs and LPs and said something to the effect of “you guys might like this.” According to them, they were so taken by my complete lack of trying to get them to do something for me that they gave the album an honest listen and actually liked it a whole lot. We’ve been in touch since then.
It was either Sacha or Dave or both who floated the idea of using Intronaut as Cloudkicker’s band. I thought it was a nice gesture but didn’t really take it seriously since I figured there wouldn’t be any way to make a live show happen given the distance between us and my work schedule that has me traveling 3-4 days a week. Fast forward to this past fall when they came through Columbus again and we spent the evening discussing what the realities of a tour like that would be. It was definitely a fun topic to discuss, but moreover I was impressed by their genuine excitement to maybe, one day, have the opportunity to do this. And the fact that they are musicians of such caliber and professionalism made it obvious that there would be no problems handling the music and translating it to a live show with minimal time in the same room rehearsing it, so long as I provided them with appropriate materials with which to prepare.
That night I wrote an email to my company’s HR department asking for the month of April (after Intronaut’s tour with Between the Buried and Me) off as a leave of absence. I framed it as an opportunity to expand a side business that provides our household with a measurable percentage of our yearly income…which it is, in a way. I told the guys that I would keep them posted, but I was almost certain that my request would be denied. It took about three weeks to get a response, and to my astonishment and the astonishment of many of my co-workers I now had April 1 to April 30 totally free. Ye gods!
After that came a lot of talking to people on the phone and emailing people that I’m still not sure what they do and behind-the-scenes planning and “Are you sure you can’t do anything in March?” “Yes, only April” “What about May?” “No just April” and generally being confused about what was actually happening.
In the midst of this, the band and I worked out a set list and I went back and remixed the songs to make it possible for a finite number of band members (specifically guitarists) to play them. I sent this out to everyone as a full-band mix as well as a mix tailored to each instrument. The hope is that when we are ready to rehearse at the end of March, everyone will come together like a puzzle. I’ve been practicing on my own at home and it gives me shivers to imagine being a piece of this puzzle—creating music live that I’ve spent so much time being immersed in by myself, and doing it as one unit in coordination to a room full of people that are as excited to hear it as I am to play it, and then doing that for a month. What a trip."